Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC)
PFAC began as a joint initiative between BJH & Siteman leadership. They saw the value in having the patient/caregiver voice provide input into initiatives relating to oncology services. In late 2009/early 2010 a group of internal executive-level stakeholders met to start developing the mission and vision of the Siteman Patient & Family Advisory Council. They also developed guidelines for the ideal PFAC member. The group consisted of both internal stakeholders and a core group of recent patients and caregivers. The rest of 2010 was spent refining the PFAC mission, vision, and goals. They also began recruitment of members. In addition to patients and caregivers, members included employees in oncology-related departments (radiation oncology, counseling, quality, etc).
In 2011, the PFAC started their monthly meetings. Some of the early initiatives they were involved in include reviewing the “Overnight Visitor Policy,” providing feedback and acting skills to a video for how to take medications safely at home and working with the Distress Measurement Pilot Committee. This committee turned into a long term project the PFAC had representation on. As of 2017, Distress Screening has been implemented in the majority of Siteman clinical practices with Radiation Oncology and Gyn Oncology starting as pilot sites and continuing today. The PFAC also provided input on the Siteman South County building. Once completed, the group was able to take a tour and see where their suggestions were implemented into the design. A PFAC member was asked to be in an ICARE video shown at a BJH leadership retreat, getting the PFAC name out to over 500 leaders at the hospital. The PFAC also helped change the name of the Psycho-Oncology program to the more patient-friendly, Siteman Counseling Service.
The PFAC has morphed throughout the years and found their voice. The culture supported the addition of the patient/caregiver voice in everything from the Campus Renewal Project to the work being done developing patient navigation.
PFAC has had 7 chairs in its 7 year history. These chairs have continued to bring the PFAC to new places and foster different ways for their voices to be heard.
The biggest and most profound impact the PFAC has made has been their involvement in the Campus Renewal Project. The new bed tower being constructed at Kingshighway and Forest Park Ave will house new oncology units and consolidate oncology services on the north campus. The project team has been attending PFAC meetings since the project started in November 2012. PFAC has been asked their opinions on room set up, interior colors, floor layout, furniture, fabrics, and outdoor space, just to name a few. They were invited to sign the final beam as well. While reviewing the floor layouts, the PFAC noticed the lack of a quiet space for the clinical caregivers to take a moment. The moment could be one of grief after a patient passed away or one to relax from the stress of a situation. With PFAC’s gentle insistence, the architects went back and added this space. Because of the PFAC, each oncology floor has a respite room for nurses, patient care techs, etc. to use when they need a moment.
The full impact of the Siteman PFAC can never be measured as it has now woven itself fundamentally into all that Siteman does. A normal question during a meeting is “can we add a patient/caregiver to this committee?” or “should we bring this to PFAC for their feedback?” Siteman will continually be made better because of the Siteman Patient and Family Advisory Council.
We advocate for improving the care and experience of our Siteman patients, families, and team members by sharing and expanding the patient and family voices.
The PFAC ensures that patient and family voices are an integral part of delivering the highest standard of safe, comprehensive and compassionate cancer care and services.
PFAC has on-going representation and active participation in:
- PCORI I-Hope research grant on inpatient services: https://www.pcori.org/research-results/2016/improving-hospital-outcomes-through-patient-engagement-i-hope-study
- Development of patient survey for navigation program
- Development of a resource directory for supportive care services for cancer patients and families
- Development of member orientation binder
- Hospital Ethics committee
- Siteman Counseling Committee
- Siteman Cancer committee
- Barnard Health Cancer Information Center Committee
- National Comprehensive Cancer Consortium for Quality Improvement/PFAC workgroup for member cancer centers
- Giving presentations to various staff groups describing the vision, mission, help and perspective that PFAC offers
PFAC patient and caregiver members serve a two-year term the option of extending another two years. All volunteers have to comply with the Barnes-Jewish Hospital Volunteer policies. The PFAC welcomes applications from patients and caregivers at any time. The PFAC meets monthly in the evenings.
If you are interested in learning more about the PFAC, please contact the PFAC coordinator, Kathy Atwater, at 314-747-4689 or SitemanPFAC@bjc.org.